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Rhymney Valley Echoes



--,---._--His Blood to Blame.



GELLYGAER OFFICIALS' SALARIES DISTRICT COUNCIL AND THE ASSISTANT OVERSEERS. QUESTION OF AUTHORITY RAISED. At the meeting of the Gellygaer District Council, on Monday, a letter was read from the two rate collectors to the effect that they de- sired their appointment under the Council to t)4) made more definite than at present, and the remuneration decided upon, as it place-d them in an awkward position when applying for the guarantee bond. They also asked that their claims should be fixed on the basis of the col- lectors' salaries paid by neighbouring Coun- cils, a list of which was given viz., Aberdare, £210; Abercarn, £140; Abertillerv, £150. Bed- wellty, £ 60; Caerphilly, £ 278: Mountain Ash, £ 425; Tredegar, £ 160 and 2i per cent for above a. certain amount; collected. The Rector: What do they get as assistant overseers?—The Chairman J6120 each.—Mr. W. Hammonds: And £50 each for collecting the general district rate.—The Chairman: You should either appoint them or somebody else-, as the overseers are in an awkward position, not a penny of the poor rate having been col- lected as the general district rate has to go on the same demand note.—A Member: What is their position?—The Chairman: The Local Government Board says we have no right to interfere with them.—The Rector: When did the Local Government Board say that?—The Chairman: The Auditor said it, and the col- lectors gave us to understand that if we inter- fered with their salary they would sue for it.— Mr. W. Hammonds, holding out a document bearing on the point, said You can alter the salaries if you desire to do so. "NOT GOING TO BE BLUFFED." The Rector: I have taken some interest in this matter, and know for a fact that the late Parish Council increased the stipend of the assistant overseer by £60. If you can increase it you can decrease it. I am "not going to be bluffed by these officers. If they say they will sue us let them do so, and if the Auditor sup- ports their contention he had better come and collect the rates himself (hear, hear).—The De- puty Clerk- To-day you have to decide what vou will pay them for collecting the general dis- trict rate.—The Chairman: I don't think it wise to appoint anybody permanently.—Mr Walter Lewis: Are they engaged by us now?— The Chairman: They are engaged by you now because you have control of the- overseers. They are directly under you, and when I mentioned the matter to them they pulled out this order from the* Local Government Board.—Mr. W. Lewis: What is Mr Harries' salary?—The Chair-1 man £ 432 Is.—Mr. W Lewis: And the other two JB120 each.—Mr. W. Hammonds: Yes, and £50- more each for the general district rate. Mr. W. Lewis said he would like to see the Auditor come before the Council and justify such salves. Here was one man getting J6432, and it was absurd to think he was doing as much as the other two, and was yet paid double as much as the two. He agreed with the Rec- tor. The Chairman said he would like to split up the salaries into three, but felt they were out of order in discussing the matter then, and thought it had better be left over till the next meeting.—The Rector: But we are considering these two collectors to-day, and they ought to be considered apart from Mr. Harries.—Mr. B. Hughes: You want to get to know your position from the Local Government Board, and you are told that you cannot touch them.— The Chairman: Last year we paid them ;i;,25 each for collecting a six months' rate, and I should like a. proposition as to what we are to paythe for collecting the current rate.—Mr. W. Lewis said he did not see that they could deal with the two without the other No amount of polishing would get rid of the fact that here was a man getting double what two men were getting for doing similar work.—The Chairman Will someone propose that we leave the mat- ter over till the next meeting?—Mr J. Mor- gan: The rate ought to be collected, and I move that they be paid the same as for the previous six months.—Mr. W. Lewis: I will support it if we can get the matter settled in the meantime.—Mr. W. Lewis: Cannot we appoint someone to deal with this matter of the collectors?—The Chairman I think the Clerk might be instructed to write to the Local Go- vernment Board as to whether we can deal with the salaries either by increase or decrease. THE COUNCIL'S AUTHORITY The Rector: It will be a. very sorry thing for this parish to be in the leading strings of the Local Government Board or anybody else. We have a duty to perform by the ratepayers. We have to do what we think is right and just. I feel that the question as to the assistant overseer ought to be considered, and I feel that Mr. Harries should have definite duties to per- form, and should receive a fair and adequate salary for the purpose thereof. I do not want anv man to work for nothing; but when I find, as"I have found, that the money which Mr. Harries received last year was out of all pro- portion to what was fair I think the Council should reconsider both his position and his salary. If we do wrong, Mr. Harries will have the opportunity of appealing to the Local Gov- ernment Board. Up to the present we have not dealt with Mr. Harries' salary. We have dealt with the Clerk's and Surveyor's salaries, and the very same tale about, getting redress from the Local Government Board would apply equally to the Surveyor and the Clerk, who could have turned round and told us we had no right to interfere with their stipends. Well, if that were so, I would say let the Surveyor and the Clerk bring: their grievance before us, and we would consider it on its merits. Let us then deal with Mr. Harries in the way that we think to- fair, just and proper. There was a letter from the Local Government Board say- ing that Mr. Harries was to be continued on the same terms and conditions as before.—Mr. Hughes: A life appointment.—The Rector: And we do not want to throw him out of his appointment, but the terms had been raised. There was also another factor in the pro- blem: when he had an increase he was Clerk to the Parish Council and had something to do for it. But the Parish Council is gone, and it is absurd to suppose that we have to go on paying that. Are we going to tolerate any per- son that we may not look at unless he threatens to do this or that with us? Let him go and do what he likes, and we will do what we think to be fair. If he has a grievance, let him bring it forward. I would never be a party to do an injury to Mr. Harries, or anybody eke. Let us deal with this matter in a fair and just way, and take the consequences of what Mr. Harries may do; let him appeal and do what he likes. Mr. W. Lewis said it was against his inclina- tion to reduce any man's salary, but there was one aspect in the case which had not been men- tioned Mr. Harries was, as it were, farming out the work to other people, and he (Mr. Lewis) had a deeply rooted objection to that. Already that matter had been going pretty well round. At Morthyr be had seen men who had spent a lifetime in official work and were yet not called public servants. He agreed with all the Rector had said.—The Chairman: I think the Rector has rather led you to think that the assistant overseer has frightened the over- seers, but I was never yet afraid of any man unless he came upon me in the dark. This matter, however, I think, should bo left over to the next meeting.—Mr W. Lewis then re- commended that the Council should obtain a barrister's opinion on the subject.—The Rector opposed this, and said that if they did wrong without intending it it was for Mr. Harries and the collectors to get advice or appeal to the Local Government- Board. The Rector then gave notice of motion that this question be con- sidered at the next meeting, and that the over- seers bo prepared with a recommendation.—Mr. W. Lewis: That will suit me.—The Chairman: I don't see that the overseers can give you any advice as they are under the control of the Council, and I feel it is you who must thresh this matter out. I am not satisfied with the con- dition of things.—Mr. J. Morgan thought the matter ought to be settled in Council, and fin- ally, on the motion of Mr. W. Hammonds, se- conded by Mr. Lewis Edwards, it was decided to hold a special meeting to consider the assist- ant overseer's salary on the 7th June, at 5.30.— The Rector said they might as well consider the Fire Brigade question at the same time, as it might ba well to have the hose there. THE CLERK'S SALARY. After the district rate had been officially seal- ed—which, it was stated by Mr Harries, would bring in £10,930-the Council discussed the question of the Clerk's salary —The Chairman said he was in favour of deferring the matter till the Clerk was present, but this wa.s not agreed to.—A motion was made by Mr. Ham- monds that the Clerk's salary should remain as it was. They had just had to increase the rate. and that surely was not a time to raise salaries. The application of the Council's workmen for twopence a day more was refused, then why should they give an increase of £50 a year to one man?—Mr. W Lewis seconded. The Rector said he felt called upon to say a. few words for the Council's consideration. He had stood out from the first fo: the princi- ple of inclusive salaries for all work done by their officials. On his proposition the Clerk's salary was fixed at £200, with extra for High Court or Parliamentary work. By the Clerk's fault, however, one fact was not made known to them which was that he had much work in regard to contracts and loans, and for which he was not paid at all. Furthermore the work of the Council had largely increased, and he was, therefore, of opinion that £200 was really an inadequate amount for the Clerk's work, and he moved that the salary be increased from £200 to £250, and he would also be prepared to in- clude the condition that the Clerk appoint his deputy to reside in the parish.—Mr Lewis Ed- wards seconded this.—Mr. W Lewis said he had always been on the side of good wages, but in this case the principle and circumstances were wrong. Mr. James was a very courteous man, but he was living away and farming the work, and that principle was wrong from start to finish. It was not that they were paying too much but that the principle was wrong.—The Chairman: It comes to this. we have not an office for his clerk.—Mr. W Lewis: Here is a room.—-The Clerk Bot he could not keep docu- ments in the board-room.—The Rector: When are the plans of the new offices coming before us?—The Surveyor: They are ready. Mr. Hammonds referred to an account of for Parliamentary work which the Finance Committee had had to pass, but the R-ect^. ■ showsd that thus was an acoouui prior to the i re-instatement of the Clerk on the new condi- tions, and said it only showed the tremendous lot he had to do.—Mr. Hammonds said it was unfair that the ratepayers should have extra expenses to bear by reason of the Clerk living ai Merthyr. Mr B. Hughes said it was unfair to discuss these matters in the absence of the Clerk.—The Chairman: 1 don't think so.—Mr. Hammonds quoted figures of salaries paid by other Councils, and said he was surprised that those who had stood out against an increase of twopence a day for the working men should sup- port this increase.—The Rector: The more I see of Mr. Hammonds the higher is my opinion of his abilities, and I believe he wants to be fair, but in this case he is a little bit too clever He says that the very men supporting- this are those who refused the working man 2d. a day more. That is not true so far as 1 am concerned I say pay a man a fair and reasonable wage for what he does. 1'.11'. Hammonds would pay a working man for doing nothing whereas I would pay him for doing a fair day's work.— Mr. Hammonds: There are no idle men in my ward.—The motion was then put. and six voted for the increase, and five against,—Mr Walter Lewis: The increase is granted by six members out of 21.-The- Chairman; This is one of the worst and most untruthful statements a mem- ber could make I say it is by six members out of eleven.—Messrs. \V. Lewis, L. P. Edwards. B. Hughes, Jas. Morgan, and W. Hammonds voted against.


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